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Thread: What book are you currently reading?

  1. #91
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    It's been a big reading year for me. How about you all?

    Books I've finished since spring:

    Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World - by Haruki Murakami (very weird author; most of my family likes him a lot. May read more of his stuff later on.)

    The Sellout - by Paul Beatty . This one won the Man Booker prize in 2016. My buddy recommended it some time back and I finally got around to finishing. Satire, social commentary, and very tongue-in-cheek racial humor and critique.

    Lolita - by Vladimir Nabokov. Notorious, unnerving story about a pedophile and the young girl he takes a fancy to. Honest-to-goodness my favorite read of the year (so far). Nabokov is a wordsmith - the writing is fast, clever as hell, and a constant pleasure to read, even when the subject matter is deeply disturbing. The author has an uncanny ability to tug on a lot of emotions at once. Seriously a great book (and I love the author's commentary at the end where he expresses exasperation that critics so often want stories to have a point, a moral purpose. There is none to be had here.)

    Jennifer Government - by Max Barry. A quick reread of a book I enjoyed in college. Upon second examination, it wasn't so interesting. A sort of anti-1984, in which the dystopian future is based in everything being privatized, including the government.

    Steppenwolf - by Herman Hesse. One I started in high school. So glad to have finally finished it. Lots to relate to here... as others have said, there is a somewhat therianthropic theme. I hope therians enjoying this book don't miss the point the way a lot of people who relate to the protagonist do. Very philosophical, dreamlike read.

    A Short History of Nearly Everything - by Bill Bryson. Nonfiction! And it's basically as the title says - specifically, though, it's scientific history. A fun historical crash-course on everything from cosmology to particle physics. I "read" this one as an audiobook during field work.

    Now I'm reading 1984, which I've meant to read for years. Next up after that is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (as several colleagues told me I "had" to read it because they think the protagonist is like me). I'm also going to reread Mossflower, my favorite of the Redwall books, just for some childhood nostalgia.

    Somewhere on the docket are Catch-22, maybe Catcher in the Rye.
    Last edited by Kisota; September 1st, 2018 at 04:55 PM.

  2. #92

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    I am reading 2 new books that I just got. One is about World War 1 and the other is The ultimate prepper's Guide-How to make sure the end of the world as we know it isn't the end of your world. The ultimate prepper's guide contains advice on : Starting a food pantry, Home and self-defense, Emergency first-aid, carrying concealed firearm, dealing with disaster and other thing. So if you want to know what to do in case of an emergency this book is what you need.
    Last edited by hotdogwolf; September 1st, 2018 at 05:13 PM.

  3. #93
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    I always enjoy learning about those kinds of survival things. I've got a survival / wilderness skills book that I have not spent enough time checking out.

    I did finish 1984 yesterday. I think I somehow imagined it was going to be a very different story from what it was. It was really fascinating, but definitely a stark kind of book. Rather the opposite of Lolita in a way - while they both have downer endings, 1984's is very purposeful - huge social messages being sent. The ending of Lolita serves no moral purpose, same as the rest of the book.

    Re-reading Mossflower is making me want to try to cook all the food in the Redwall books. There are recipe books and blogs aplenty out there, and it all sounds SO DARN GOOD.

  4. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kisota View Post
    I always enjoy learning about those kinds of survival things. I've got a survival / wilderness skills book that I have not spent enough time checking out.

    I did finish 1984 yesterday. I think I somehow imagined it was going to be a very different story from what it was. It was really fascinating, but definitely a stark kind of book. Rather the opposite of Lolita in a way - while they both have downer endings, 1984's is very purposeful - huge social messages being sent. The ending of Lolita serves no moral purpose, same as the rest of the book.

    Re-reading Mossflower is making me want to try to cook all the food in the Redwall books. There are recipe books and blogs aplenty out there, and it all sounds SO DARN GOOD.
    You should try and read your survival book as much as you can. It may come in handy when a disaster does happen. I been skimming over a few pages in my survival book but its really big book and this is going to take some time too read. The bad thing about this book is that all the pictures in it are in black and white and that is something you do not want to have in a survival book. You need the pictures to be in color if you are to better understand the information better. Especially when the book shows what plants are edible and what plants are not. ''Please note-Never rely on the pictures and information you find in a survival book about what plants are edible and which ones are not'' Always go to a qualified survival school for that.
    Last edited by hotdogwolf; September 2nd, 2018 at 08:52 PM.

  5. #95
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    I'm currently reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss. It's a crossover story of all the famous daughters of gothic monsters (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein, Rapaccini, Dracula, etc.) getting together to solve crime in 19th century London. So far, all the book has been groundwork for all the main characters getting together. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are involved too.

    And the text of the story is broken up by the main characters chiming in with side comments which is hilarious! I'm really enjoying it!

    "That's wolves for ya', good guys!" -Wolf, t10k
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  6. #96
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    It's been a huge reading year for me! I've read more than I ever have before. I've moved on to e-readers for convenience. I still get physical books sometimes, but I always make sure I have a digital copy, which is the one I actually ready. Makes it easy to see what I've read.

    Let's see.

    I read the entire Oxford History of the United States series. Each one was by a different historian so they were a bit of a mixed bag. The standout star of the series is What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 by Daniel Walker Howe. He really covers all kinds of social dimensions like the status of women and slavery with stunning detail. The religious element is pretty damn interesting too.

    Read Dubliners by James Joyce, and attempted to read Finnegans Wake but gave up on that one.

    Read 11/22/63, The Shining, The Stand, The Outsider, It, Cujo, Skeleton Crew, Under the Dome, and Revival; all by Stephen King. I've never really read any of his books beside Salem's Lot before this year. He's a pretty hit and miss author in my opinion, but when he's good, holy hell is he good. Revival was the standout of these to me, so completely different from other things he's read. It's one of those books that people either love or absolutely hate. The people that dislike it tend to dislike it for the supernatural element taking a backseat. The book is really about aging and the inevitability of death.

    Read both Elmer Gantry and It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. The former is awesome, I really recommend that one. The latter was pretty meh in my opinion. It has a lot of hype around it, but Lewis himself admitted it wasn't very good and that he wrote it in the span of like two weeks.

    A Short History of Ireland by John O'Beirne Ranelagh.

    A Concise History of Canada
    by Margaret Conrad.

    A Brief History of Ireland
    by Richard Killeen.

    A Concise History of the Caribbean by B. W. Higman.

    Long the Imperial Way: A Japanese Soldier in China by Hanama Tasaki. This one is a fictional novel about a soldier in the Imperial Army during the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930's. The quality of the writing isn't incredible, but it was really interesting to read. The author was a soldier who fought there, but it's anti-militarist in tone. It seemed kind of similar to the experience of American troops in Vietnam to tell the truth, which surprised me.

    Five Dialogues and Republic by Plato. Also the Cambridge Companion to Plato.

    The Oxford History of Mexico by William Beezley and Michael Meyer.

    The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
    by Christopher Lasch. This one is older, written in the 1970's IIRC. Still was very interesting and thought provoking.

    Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream by Diane Koenker.

    Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath by Herbert Hoover. This one was pretty interesting. Didn't really learn anything I didn't already know, but saw some things explored in more detail than I had read about before. I found a lot of his conclusions difficult to agree with, but even then there's a lot here that will challenge people's assumptions of what they know about the United States and its involvement in WW2.

    Now I've shifted gears and started reading about climate science. Recently finished No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies by William Vollman, and now I've been digging into volume two.

    On the docket I have Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future; A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic; Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States; and finally Energy and Civilization: A History.

    Not going to lie, it's pretty grim stuff. I never knew, for example, that discharged CO2 has a heating effect on the planet for between 2,000 and 6,000 years. Or that agriculture is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and that's even factoring out the carbon produced by the power planets needed to keep the machinery running and the infrastructure needed for commerce going. Or that the oceans have become 30% more acidic in just the last 200 years. Fun fact: the oceans absorb somewhere between 1/3 and 1/4 of all our carbon emissions. Funner fact: as water becomes more acidic, it becomes less capable of retaining CO2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kisota View Post
    I always enjoy learning about those kinds of survival things. I've got a survival / wilderness skills book that I have not spent enough time checking out.

    I did finish 1984 yesterday. I think I somehow imagined it was going to be a very different story from what it was. It was really fascinating, but definitely a stark kind of book. Rather the opposite of Lolita in a way - while they both have downer endings, 1984's is very purposeful - huge social messages being sent. The ending of Lolita serves no moral purpose, same as the rest of the book.

    Re-reading Mossflower is making me want to try to cook all the food in the Redwall books. There are recipe books and blogs aplenty out there, and it all sounds SO DARN GOOD.
    I always kind of wondered about Lolita. The premise of the book sounded kind of unappealing to me, but now I think I may give it a try.

    If you've read 1984 you HAVE to read Brave New World. It's one of the bigger literary rivalries since they offer such opposite conceptions of dystopia. In BNW, the government does not need to exert its direct control of every facet of life. Instead it has fostered a society of rampant consumerism where people care only about having orgies and doing drugs, looking to nothing other than their own immediate satisfaction and gratification. There is no need for heavy handed surveillance or control because society's obsession with instant gratification prevents dissent from even being a possibility. It was also written more than a decade before 1984.

    Someone I know once remarked that it was amusing to think about the fact that even in the worst imaginable dystopias of fiction, nobody could ever bring themselves to imagine a reality that ended up, at least in some ways, even worse than their fictions. In both 1984 and Brave New World, the government bans most books. What neither author predicted is a society that produces people who have no desire of reading anything at all. No government today has to ban books because nobody wants to read them in the first place. No dystopian author predicted this. Interesting food for thought.

  7. #97

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    I wish I could get more books but I am running out of room in my room. The 2 books I have now are to big to put on the shelf of my cosset and I already have more then enought books on there already. I need a bigger room.

  8. #98
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    I tried reading Lolita two summers ago. I gave up about three-fourths of the way through. The writing was clever, I suppose, but I found it florid to the point of pretentiousness, and combined with the disturbing subject matter I couldn't finish it.

    Last year I read Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I consider it one of the most important books ever written about the occult. Definitely an all-time favorite. Then I read The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. Very postmodern and interesting... I ended up getting a tattoo of a muted post-horn on my right bicep. The last book I read was The Name of the Rose, also by Eco. Pretty good but not as good as FP. Now I'm reading Imajica, by Clive Barker, on a friend's suggestion. It's good so far.

    I've also read 1984 and Brave New World. I thought 1984 was a tremendous piece of writing. BNW, on the other hand, I didn't think was particularly well-written. Enjoyable, but not a tour de force in the manner of ​1984.

  9. #99
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    I've been reading translated Japanese light novels, the Spice and Wolf series (and the follow-up Spice and Parchment) and the Devil is a Part Timer series ....

    Not exactly the classics but fun reads before bed

    BTW if you haven't read Orwell's Animal Farm or London's Call of the Wild you need to .... I read those multiple times when I was younger!

  10. #100
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    Animal Farm is on my "eventually" list. I believe I've read Call of the Wild.

    Finished up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and my re-read of Mossflower. I've also now watched the American version of the Dragon Tattoo film adaptation. I was pretty pleased with it. Good film adaptations are hard to come by sometimes, but both this and the film adaptation of 1984 were solid and really fun to watch after reading.

    As a total change of pace, I'm now reading Christopher Hitchen's God is Not Great. Not my first venture into this sort of writing (I read Dawkins's The God Delusion back in high school). Hitch's writing is definitely a bit more ... pithy. His sentences are frequently long. There's still some of that same wry humor Dawkins has, but the overall feel of it is a bit stodgier and less easily accessible. The difference between a journalist/essayist and a biologist trained for brevity and clarity in writing, maybe. Anyway, I'm not far yet but it should be interesting.

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